What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Julian Whitaker, MD
If you are going through menopause, you need to know about bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical estrogen and progesterone are identical to the hormones produced in a woman’s body. This fact alone alleviates many of the problems associated with conventional HRT. These hormones are compounds the body is familiar with, and they act in the way nature intended them to.
Safe and Effective
At the Whitaker Wellness Institute, our doctors used to prescribe an estrogen replacement called *bi-est containing 80 percent estriol and 20 percent estradiol. The human body makes dozens of types of estrogen, but the three major types are estradiol, a dominant form of estrogen; estrone, which is linked to breast cancer; and estriol, which is an abundant but relatively weak and very safe form of estrogen that has been shown to protect against breast cancer. We also use natural progesterone, which unlike synthetic progestin has a long track record of safety and utility.
Some may argue that bioidentical hormones have never been studied in large controlled clinical trials, and I cannot dispute that. There’s just no profit motive in studying natural substances that cannot be patented. However, scores of smaller studies—not to mention thousands of cases of careful clinical use—demonstrate their safety and efficacy.
I can state without reservation that these hormones are much better tolerated than conventional HRT. Whereas half of all women starting on conventional HRT discontinue it within a year because of unwanted side effects, compliance among women taking bioidentical hormones, which are tailor-made for each woman, is excellent. Patients state that these hormones just make them feel better.
Bioidentical hormones are easy to obtain from compounding pharmacies. Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and other chain drugstores are simply dispensaries for pre-packaged, prescription medications made by pharmaceutical companies in one-size-fits-all doses. Compounding pharmacists, on the other hand, take pharmaceutical-grade natural hormones and other ingredients and prepare them for each patient per her doctor’s prescription. This approach allows for an infinite range of individualized doses and delivery systems.
For instance, most of the women at Whitaker Wellness use bioidentical hormones in the form of a topical cream. Some use bi-est with natural progesterone, some use progesterone alone, and others also use testosterone, all in varying doses. Only a compounding pharmacy can provide this degree of personalization.
Don’t let the widely publicized problems with conventional hormones scare you away from HRT altogether. Bioidentical hormones continue to be a safe and useful therapy that can dramatically improve your quality of life.
*NOTE: In 2008, at the behest of a pharmaceutical company, the FDA began threatening physicians and compounding pharmacists that use estriol. To read more about this heinous action and how the FDA is functioning as little more than a puppet of Big Pharma, click here.
- Talk to your doctor about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
- To schedule an appointment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, contact a Patient Services Representative at (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- To locate a compounding pharmacy near you, call the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) at (800) 927-4227 or visit iacprx.org.
- Schmidt JW, et al. Hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women: Past problems and future possibilities. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;22(10):564–577.
Modified from Health & Healing, May 2007, with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Phillips Health, LLC. Copyright 2007. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.